Sweeter Than Chocolate: A Novella Part 5

Liz arrived at Sinfully Sweet early and found the door unlocked and went in. The smells swirling around were wonderful. Martha greeted her and pulled out a batch of Chocolate Chocolate-chip Muffins.  They talked some about Martha’s needs and the best sellers in the store then they touched on Jennifer’s boyfriend of the week.  Liz went to the office and started to sort a mound of paper work.

Martha peeked into the office. “So what do you think of the boy?” Liz ignored her for a moment and then looked up. “What do you think of Ian?”

“Oh, he is fairly young, isn’t he?” she said with a noncommittal grin. “What’s this I hear about him sneaking in here and getting some food?”

“It was just a few crumbled muffins,” Martha laughed. “He’s a sweet young man. He’s a looker too. I thought you two would have a lot in common.” Martha washed her hands at the sink and then sat at the table outside of the office and checked her watch. There was a bell and Martha got up to get the items. She was gone for a while and Liz made some good progress on the stack of work.

Martha appeared at the office door in a white hair net and with a big smile. “So when is your big date with Ian?”

“Tuesday, I guess,” she said without looking up.

“Oh, that’s right, a big picnic. The mountains are beautiful in the spring.” She giggled and looked over shoulder towards the ovens.

Liz looked up. Martha knew more than she did. Ian was smart to pick Martha’s brain. No one knew more about Liz than Martha, especially concerning all things chocolate. Having befriended Martha showed Liz that Ian was interested in getting to know the real Liz Fairholm.

He knew Liz’s business at work and where she lived, maybe he was a serial killer. “I’ll have my phone, in case I don’t return, you’ll know where to find my body.”

Martha laughed. “Oh heavens, child, Florian would never hurt you.”

“What about the floor?” Liz asked confused.

“Don’t you think he’s cute?”

“He’s alright,” she paused but knew that Martha wanted more than that so she continued, “His hair is the color of milk chocolate.”

Martha smiled tenderly and chuckled. “I’m glad you noticed. Wasn’t there anything else you noticed about him?”

It was odd that Martha thought she wouldn’t have observed that he was a handsome man. Even if he was too young for her, she still had eyes. “His eyes are the color of dark Chocolate.” Liz added with a dreamy smile.

“Chocolate, chocolate, everything is about chocolate,” laughed Martha.

“Yes, it is. That’s my life, Martha, my first love,” she said with confidence.

“Oh honey, there’s more to life than chocolate. Ian’s going to have a hard time competing with that,” Martha said looking worried.

“Martha, I wouldn’t worry about Ian. I have a feeling that if he decides to give it a go, he’ll have a better time than most then watch out chocolate,” Liz said and looked up at Martha’s shocked face. It sounded like she issued Ian a challenge, a challenge she was sure he could win. “You know how he is: he’s determined to keep showing up.” Martha looked nervously over her shoulder towards the ovens but she was reluctant to leave the conversation. Liz continued, “I have been enjoying his visits. It’s always nice to have another friend especially outside of work.”

“I’m sure he’s been enjoying his visits with you too,” Martha had a twinkle in her eye that made Liz suspect that they had a visitor.

“You know he really has a way with breaking and entering unannounced,” Liz accused then monitored Martha’s sideways nervous glance. Liz stood and went into the kitchen and found Ian sitting on the stainless steel table in the center of the kitchen. He blushed and waved. She strode past him to the backdoor and proceeded to twist the lock. She looked at him, raised her eyebrows and pointed at the lock.

Ian smiled big. “Good job.”

“Oh, heavens. You just locked him in here, honey,” said Martha with a wink. Liz rolled her eyes.


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